Other Commentaries

The Senate protects our freedoms

Based upon census bureau projections, 69 percent of all Americans are projected to live in the 16 largest states. Given the uncertainties of predicting how people will live in an era of self-driving cars and other cultural changes, the precise numbers may be a bit off. But, it is certainly true ...

Defending Trump with Putin

As a trial judge in New Jersey during the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush years, I spent much of my time trying to settle cases. This process involved bringing into my chambers the lawyers for the disputants and asking them in the absence of their adversaries to lay their cards on the ...

Showtime ‘Fakes News’ for the Left

CBS’s pay-cable Showtime channel is the latest backer of con artist/”comedian” Sacha Baron Cohen’s performance art, as in the movies “Borat” and “Bruno.” It’s a new TV show called “Who Is America?” that is designed, as usual, to mock Americans — mostly conservatives ...

Questioning intelligence – and its track recordDid President Trump bungle the moment in Helsinki by casting doubt on American intelligence findings that Russian agents “meddled” in the 2016 election? His critics, including some Republicans, say so — and a day later, Trump said he had misspoken when he expressed doubt about Russian culpability — but several things need to be kept in mind. The first is that Russia and the United States have been meddling with, or spying on, each other for decades. That is hardly a secret. Second, according to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, no votes were altered, and the election outcome was not affected by the alleged meddling. Third, the fealty most Democrats and some Republicans are showing for the credibility of U.S. intelligence today was lacking after it was discovered that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction. Every intelligence agency in the U.S. and Britain swore (some under oath) that Saddam Hussein had WMD. It was the rationale President George W. Bush used to invade Iraq, topple Saddam and install a government more to his liking. Some older history might serve to prove that U.S. intelligence findings are not always accurate, or worth taking at immediate face value. On Dec. 22, 1963, former President Harry Truman wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post. In it, Truman said that the Central Intelligence Agency, which he created, had become “an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.” And so, Truman wrote, “I decided to set up a special organization charged with the collection of all intelligence reports from every available source, and to have those reports reach me as President without department ‘treatment’ or interpretations. I wanted and needed the information in its ‘natural raw’ state and in as comprehensive a volume as it was practical for me to make full use of it. But the most important thing about this move was to guard against the chance of intelligence being used to influence or to lead the President into unwise decisions — and I thought it was necessary that the President do his own thinking and evaluating.” Even then there were concerns about the accuracy and credibility of intelligence material. In 1975, a congressional committee chaired by Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho) investigated abuses by the CIA, National Security Agency, FBI and IRS. These included allegations that the U.S. Army was spying on American civilians, and that the CIA had conducted assassination attempts against foreign leaders and covert operations to subvert foreign governments. Seymour Hersh of The New York Times wrote a lengthy story detailing attempts by U.S. intelligence agencies to collect information on the political activities of American citizens. Democrats took the lead in reforming intelligence agencies to make them more accountable to Congress, though some critics said they went too far, damaging legitimate intelligence-gathering operations. In 2016, the website Politico ran a story about Democrats’ tumultuous relationship with the CIA. After the Senate Intelligence Committee had launched an investigation into the CIA’s alleged use of torture, including waterboarding, of suspected terrorist captives, leading Democrats charged that the agency was dragging its feet “and perhaps even intentionally undermining the congressional probe,” Politico reported. Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) called for CIA director John Brennan to resign. Now, many Democrats and most of the left are applauding Brennan for calling President Trump a traitor and demanding he be impeached. President Trump can diffuse much of the heat surrounding Russian “meddling” in the 2016 election by declassifying, as William McGurn of The Wall Street Journal suggests, “all material subpoenaed by Congress regarding Russia and collusion and possible FBI or Justice Department abuses.” President Trump might have done better in Helsinki if he had made such an announcement while standing next to Vladimir Putin. He has the constitutional authority to do it. This controversy began when a special counsel was named under the false pretense that a “dossier” paid for by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign was legitimate. This fiasco needs to be ended by getting to the truth contained in those classified documents the Justice Department has refused to share with Congress.

Did President Trump bungle the moment in Helsinki by casting doubt on American intelligence findings that Russian agents “meddled” in the 2016 election? His critics, including some Republicans, say so — and a day later, Trump said he had misspoken when he expressed doubt about Russian ...

Trump not first to embarrass America with Putin

WASHINGTON — The definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting to get a different result, which is one of the many reasons President Trump’s news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin seemed so insane. Trump is trying to do something that both of ...

Convenience services: A bellwether for a strong economy

From where we sit, the U.S. economy is firing on all cylinders. America's unemployment rate currently stands at four percent-one of its lowest points since the late 1960s. Average hourly earnings rose 2.8 percent through May, the largest expansion since the Great Recession. Economic growth, ...

The Other Roe looms

Roe v Wade is, perhaps, the seminal court case of our era. Certainly no U.S. Supreme Court case has been cited more often in the acrimonious debate over Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. But a second critical court decision, which is less remembered today but not less ...

Boston University’s Fake-O-Nomics darling

It costs a pretty penny to earn a diploma in stupid. The annual list price to attend Boston University — including tuition, fees, room and board — currently rounds out to $70,000. To acquire a degree in economics from this tony institution of higher learning, an undergrad must complete ...

Trump’s deference to Putin is less about collusion than character

Recently I wrote that the best way to think about a Trump Doctrine is as nothing more than Trumpism on the international stage. By Trumpism, I do not mean a coherent ideological program, but a psychological phenomenon, or simply the manifestation of his character. Last week, we literally saw ...

Avenatti, the media’s legal hero

On July 10, The New York Times Magazine devoted nearly 6,000 words to Michael Avenatti, the Trump-trashing lawyer representing porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims she had sex with President Donald Trump. How is he worthy of so much attention? This man is running a one-man show trafficking in ...

Trump’s Helsinki discord

Donald Trump is not, and never will be, the Moscow correspondent for The Nation magazine, and he shouldn’t sound like it. The left-wing publication is prone to extend sympathetic understanding to adversaries of the United States and find some reason, any reason, to blame ourselves for their ...

Chico Marx for president

In a scene in the 1933 film “Duck Soup,” the character played by Chico, the most underrated of the funny Marx Brothers, is dressed like another character, and when the other man leaves the room, the woman who remains is surprised to see Chico. She tells him she saw him leave. ...

Business Insider surrenders in Johansson flap

A fascinating series of controversies erupted recently, and they had nothing to do with Donald Trump or Robert Mueller. Business Insider ran a column defending actress Scarlett Johansson from fierce criticism for her decision to play a transgender man in a forthcoming film called “Rub and ...

Culture leads, not Supreme Court

Just about every American election year is peppered with quotes from seemingly very serious people claiming that, for some reason, this is the most important election of our lifetime. This year, we’re also being told that the political battle to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony ...

Hollywood balks at Brett Kavanaugh

No one is more upset about Trump’s second Supreme Court nomination than the liberal media ... unless it’s the entertainment elites in Hollywood and Manhattan. These liberals couldn’t see the flagrant hypocrisy surrounding their sentences as they unloaded their fear and loathing on ...

Trump’s words, actions strengthened NATO

WASHINGTON — As President Trump put Germany and other allies on notice for the harm they are doing to NATO with their failure to spend adequately on our common defense, Democrats in Washington came to Germany’s defense. “President Trump’s brazen insults and denigration of one of ...

Slavery: What they didn’t teach in my high school

A man I have known since grade school changed his name, years ago, to an Arabic one. He told me he rejected Christianity as “the white man’s religion that justified slavery.” He argued Africans taken out of that continent were owed reparations. “From whom?” I asked. Arab slavers ...

The week that wasn’t for anti-Trumpers

Last week was not a good one for anti-Trumpers, who include virtually all Democrats and most establishment Republicans. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein picked last Friday, just three days before President Trump was scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, to announce ...

Yes, the Supreme Court is undemocratic

In an era of partisan polarization, it is rare to get agreement on anything, but about this there should be a consensus: The Supreme Court is an undemocratic institution whose power should be carefully circumscribed. The right has long been of this view, and the left is suddenly and ...